A photo like that was made for caption contests.

In fact, this snap was made on a recent city-break to Lyon, sans enfants, in the town's Parc de la Tête d'Or and marks the 1996 G7 get together that took place there. The dedication reads “Together for Peace and Justice”.

That was rightful acknowledgement of what at that stage appeared to be a resolution of the most serious of the Balkan fighting (pre Kosovo), the bombing and killing of 19 at a US military compound in Saudi Arabia 2 days before the conference begun as well as being the usual platitudinous reference encompassing debt relief, trade justice (excluding Cuba of course) and so forth.

But in cold economic terms it was a conference sandwiched by the Mexican Peso Crisis and the collapse of Barings Bank on one side and the approaching Asian Crisis on the other.

The then IMF Managing Director, Michael Camdessus, whatever the criticisms (and they bear scrutiny ex-post) that would be levelled at him for the IMF's “solutions” to the Asian Crisis made presciently clear the week of the Lyon conference that the infrastructure permitting financial crisis on a grand scale was solidly in place – even if it was impossible to work out which bus it would arrive on:

"The global economy has suffered several costly financial crises over the last decade. Plunging asset prices, major bouts of exchange market volatility, a crisis in emerging markets sparked by events in Mexico, and the collapse of several major financial institutions, in the industrial and emerging market countries alike, all underline one of the major weaknesses of our system. Thus far, the international community has been able to cope with these episodes, but not without difficulty. Will it be prepared for the next one? " (link)

Unfortunately, he then embarked on a self-congratulatory sketch of what the IMF was doing to prevent a recurrence of the last (Peso) war without considering the versatile capacity of the underlying financial conduits to fight new style wars.

A long way of saying plus ça change. We are at it again, fire fighting, muddling through and looking backwards for solutions. In the daily minutiae of SCAP announcements, TARPs and QE it is easy to forget the fundamental approach must be prevention - and the logical place to concentrate on that is with strong, though desperately unpopular, contra-cyclical policies.

But we don't seem to have the full complement of vegetables for it.

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